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Cure Your Station’s Summertime Blues

Get on top of these promotions before things heat up

Credit: iStockphoto/Carrie Wendel While summer isn’t here quite yet, most of our listeners have already made their vacation plans. My wife reserved our summer beach place with friends all the way back in January. This should be a reality check for those of us who have not yet planned summer promotions.

Newsflash: Your general manager wants you to make money from these activities, and your sales manager won’t have a shot at that unless you clue her in fast about what you’ve got planned.

-Nothing says “beginning of summer” like Memorial Day. No doubt if you run a music station you’re considering at least one song or artist countdown that could be sponsored. Many bars and restaurants celebrate the sun by opening their outdoor areas over this particular weekend.

Sell one of these locales to be a remote broadcast, or at least a cut-in from what becomes your patio party. For example, any excuse will do to show off the latest line of swimsuits. You might hold a tastefully done Sunday brunch in the center court at the mall, thus picking up three clients in one fell swoop: The store that sells the swimsuits, the mall and a restaurant in the food court that offers a pre-fixe menu or discounts (mention all three in promos).

-“Daddy, I bought you a tie!” Father’s Day in June pulls at the heartstrings and gives you another opportunity to get in front of fans and tug at the purse strings of some clients who need your help pulling in a crowd.

Before dad’s big day, run a Facebook photo contest searching for your city’s ugliest tie. (This is a good co-promotion with a local TV station’s morning news program.) Have the finalists wear their ties to a show being broadcast on TV and let people vote via Web or hold an event at a store or restaurant. The winner of the ugliest tie contest gets a designer tie, suit, shoes; the whole nine-yards.

An old favorite is “The Father’s Day 500,” in which you have fathers race their lawnmowers. You’ll need quite a bit of space, a starting pistol, a linesman and some cool handyman prizes from your hardware store or stores that sell lawn care equipment.

-There’s something for every radio station in America for Independence Day. From patriotism to commercialism, the choices are almost as endless as your creativity. I love parades, and a radio mentor of mine once said, “If you can’t create a parade, at least get in front of one!”If you do nothing else for the Fourth of July, your personalities can at least connect with fans by being on a float with a local club, and helping with public address announcements (if any are done).

Or do call-ins with some colorful commentary from either from people watching the event, or from someone from your staff, on-air. Remember that we still have troops all over the globe, certainly from your hometown, and if you start now you can get at least a few dozen shout-outs from them to your town — or from your town to them. Yes, these greetings and your parade coverage could be tastefully sponsored.

-The dog days of August are great, because you can pick any days you want in that month to celebrate. Because you’re making this up as you go along, have fun for a week or two, or the whole month. Best “Bark of The Week,” wins a month’s worth of dog food, brought to you by Pet Giant, say. Play these barks on-air, put the sound files on your website, and let people vote.

You could have listeners submit videos for “Best Dog Trick of The Week” to win a special treat of ice cream for the entire neighborhood. Give away hot dogs every day for a week at your local minor league team’s place for anyone who brings a picture of their dog. Or, as McGruff says, “Take a Bite Out Of Crime” by featuring photos and stories of local police dogs and their accomplishments.

-When summer wraps up on Labor Day, award a down payment on a kid’s college savings plan from a local bank, for the couple who gives birth first at 12:01 a.m. on Labor Day. This one requires at least a few weeks of pre-promotion (if not nine months). If a bank isn’t game, try a children’s medical practice or a specialty store like Buy Buy Baby.

As the Gershwin tune goes, in the summertime, the living is easy. So plan large and enjoy!